head fashion through the ages

Article was written for a fashion/beauty blog. All content created and owned by Kate Weaver.

Head fashion, or the act of wearing some type of adornment on one’s head, is an essential part of countless cultural traditions. When thinking of head fashion, perhaps your mind goes to the eccentric fascinators worn by members of British society while they attend social gatherings like weddings. Or perhaps you think of turbans, the intricately wrapped cloth headpieces which are typically worn by those adhering to certain Eastern religions like Sikhism. If not those two examples, maybe your mind went to the Hijab, the long veils worn wrapped around the heads of women practicing Islam. 

  No matter the culture or cultural practice, head wear has long held a place in the history of fashion yet is often overlooked as an item to be revered. But then you may question, “does the standard baseball cap really need to be revered?” Absolutely! By wearing that front-billed hat, the wearer is identifying themselves with the logo, which is usually for a sports team or similar organization. It’s a way to show off your likes, dislikes and affiliations without stating them explicitly. 

   The same could be said for the fascinators crafted by world renowned Irish milliner, Phillip Treacy, who has created iconic head pieces like the aforementioned one worn by HRH Princess Beatrice as well as celebrities like the Duchess of Sussex, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Naomi Campbell and Sarah Jessica Parker. In an interview done several years ago, Phillip Treacy was prompted to explain his process when it comes to designing custom head fashion. He stated, somewhat infamously, “When people come and visit me and have a hat made, it’s a little bit like visiting a psychiatrist, but they don’t actually realize that.” 

   His rationalization around his particular design process only speaks to the uniqueness of individual expression when it comes to the cultural practice of head fashion. So often, Western cultures are quick to categorize head fashion like the hijab as boring or plain and simply a part of a religious practice, but what many don’t realize is that head fashion like this, which includes the turbans worn by Sikhs and other similar religious headpieces, extend beyond religious dogma and really involve the art of self-expression. Muslim women almost exclusively choose what fabrics they use for their hijabs and niqabs, and these can range from simple linen to luxurious printed silks and organza fabrics. 

  So, no matter the occasion, religion or sports team, perhaps next time you put on a cap, think a bit more on how your choice reflects your unique sense of identity. Even a simple sun hat can showcase your style! Maybe you’ll chose a more vibrant color or a more nuanced design with additional frills and details. Whatever it may be, just be sure to wear it with your head held high! 

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